When I spoke to Alex Zhang (aka Dirty Beaches) a couple of weeks ago, he was adamant that his live performances would not consist of reproducing his recorded work but would focus on being more experimental and spontaneous. In fact, halfway through his concert at Pink Noize on Wednesday, 16th April he remarked – “True blue’s for pussies” when a request was shouted out from the audience.
Indeed, Zhang and collaborator Shub Roy lived up to that promise and provided fairly opaque renditions of music from Drifters/Love is the Devil and newer material – although it was difficult to even identify familiar motives. Utilizing mainly electronics, saxophone and heavily treated vocals, the duo created a dark ambient atmosphere punctuated by dance beats intended to invigorate the audience.
The crowd was typically reserved but that didn’t faze Zhang one bit and he was effectively in his own world throughout the performance – jumping around on stage, pushing into the crowd to get a mosh going and even falling to his hands and knees at one point – there was no mistaking his passion for the music! It didn’t matter that Zhang did not play the ‘hits’ or pander to his audience – this was an aural experience to treasure and within such intimate settings, it was something unforgettable indeed!
Kudos to Other Sounds for making this unique gig possible, Singapore has not been short of glamour concerts in recent times but nothing compares to witnessing an artist in his/her element in close quarters – here’s to more of the same!